Solar Turbines helped defeat a residential project near its Embarcadero facility. But it donated to the new water park nearby.
Special interests lined up for sponsorship rights to this month’s unveiling of the packed new water park around the county administration building downtown. So-called behest disclosure filings required by state law show that the Viejas Band of the Kumeyaay Indians put up $10,000 for the grand opening at the behest of supervisor Dianne Jacob. Solar Turbines gave the same in the name of supervisor Ron Roberts, generally known as the park’s godfather. Large banners at the event credited those givers and many other commercial interests, some of which have yet to be disclosed on county filings.
In 2012, Solar retained city-hall super-lobbyist Paul Robinson to beat back an effort by high-concept architect Jonathan Segal to build residential condominiums on the site of the old Fat City restaurant, on Pacific Highway across from the manufacturing plant. “Solar produces pollutants that are closely regulated by a host of governmental agencies,” noted real estate magnate Douglas Manchester’s U-T San Diego, which backed Solar’s opposition to the project. “While Solar Turbines’ risk level to the public is currently within acceptable levels, that could change if a residential use is located adjacent to the Solar Turbines facility.”
When the U-T recently wrote a glowing editorial congratulating its long favored Roberts on the park (“It will be a welcoming ‘front porch’ on San Diego Bay that is worthy of a great city.”), there was no mention of what the paper had previously alleged were the host of deadly toxins wafting from the plant a block away.